Why does the state send private locomotives as far as possible from profits
Author: general director of “Loko-Invest”, a subsidiary company of “Lemtrans”
The latest version of the document on the procedure for admittance of private locomotives to certain routes on the railway, presented by the Ministry of Infrastructure, contains a clause that casts doubt on the beginning of the entire experiment. Thus, a private operator cannot launch a route on a track section with high-speed passenger traffic, and this is a large part of the railroad bed. As part of the experiment, Ukrzaliznytsya initially offers to private business the areas with no cargo.
With such a distribution of routes, private operators will incur significant financial losses. Locomotives are a time-consuming and costly story, which does not even amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars per unit, since not one, but several units of equipment are needed to ensure transportation. It is difficult to even partially recoup such costs, but impossible on unprofitable routes. For a full-scale launch of an experiment with private traction, a business needs not only point to point transportation, but also the import work to the nearest overhead station. Several interaction scenarios need to be worked out: this is an export and short point to point scenario up to 300 km and a longer one — up to 550 or 600 km.
Our experience suggests that such an experiment should last at least 12 months, because the transportation of goods in autumn and winter involves different requirements for equipment, visibility, coefficient of adhesion, internal logistics, fuel, etc. It is necessary to prepare teams, build internal logistics, set up all processes. We have been preparing for this experiment for a year now: we roll out the "hardware" and work with groups of workers so that they can perfectly control the locomotive.
Launching an experiment is the first step towards market liberalization. The main thing is to understand how it works, in practice to calculate the “secret” locomotive component; debug the model of interaction with the infrastructure - how responsibility for the cargo should be transferred; find out what is really going on with the route schedule; in the end — how much will it all cost. It is also important to understand that an experiment with private traction will help reduce the investment burden on UZ and get rid of the problem with the purchase of diesel locomotives — private locomotives can cover the demand on areas that are problematic for shippers not in a few years, but now.
The whole process should be the initial stage of a large project called market liberalization. The experiment becomes fundamentally important as it helps to collect statistics. It is necessary to use the maximum possible scenarios within the framework of this experiment, so that in the future, when opening the market for private operators, the state will rely not on theory, but on real facts.